tions on health, of climate change on health, of climate change on buildings, and of buildings on climate change, there is almost no literature on the intersection of climate change, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and occupant health—and much of what little literature there is summarizes information on one or more of the above categories rather than offering original contributions. The committee was thus required to approach its task by reviewing the available information on components of the climate-change–IEQ–occupant-health nexus and deriving its findings, conclusions, and recommendations and identifying research needs on the basis of a synthesis of that information. It considered peer-reviewed papers, government and research organization reports, and authoritative literature reviews, notably publications in the National Academies’ America’s Climate Choices series (NRC, 2010a,b,c,d), the National Research Council reports Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning (2006) and Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease Emergence (2008), and the Institute of Medicine study Damp Indoor Spaces and Health (IOM, 2004).

The committee’s observations and recommendations are based on general conclusions reached in previous National Academies reports on climate change and literature those reports found to be authoritative. They do not depend on any particular model of future climatic conditions. The literature on IEQ and health is rich and unequivocal: indoor environmental conditions have a great influence on human health, and adverse conditions harm occupant well-being. Altered climatic conditions will not necessarily introduce new risks for building occupants but may make existing indoor environmental problems more widespread and more severe and thus increase the urgency with which prevention and interventions must be pursued.

The committee structured the results of its work into three categories. The key findings explicate why people and governments should be concerned about the effects of climate change on the indoor environment. Guiding principles are the elements of the public-health mission that informed the specific recommendations offered. The priority issues for action and recommendations are the primary initiatives that the committee believes should be implemented to address the problems that it identified. The details underlying these are contained in the preceding chapters.


Three key findings derived from the committee’s literature review underlie its conclusion that alterations in indoor environmental quality induced by climate change are an important public-health problem that deserves attention and action.

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